Parker Gabriel: Sean Payton, George Paton have many variables to navigate in trying to identify QB of the future

Parker Gabriel, The Denver Post on

Published in Football

INDIANAPOLIS — Michael Penix Jr. walked into the Denver Broncos’ suite at Lucas Oil Stadium and was greeted with some of his worst work as a college quarterback.

The University of Washington star and 2024 NFL draft hopeful, though, took it in stride.

Not that every other interview is all sunshine and rainbows, but Penix called his meeting with the Broncos “different.”

In the NFL, he’ll be asked to adjust on the fly constantly. Play in and play out. Multiple times in just a few seconds. If at first you don’t anticipate, you’d sure as heck better react quickly.

“They were tough. They put up a lot of bad plays,” Penix said of his 18 minutes with head coach Sean Payton and the rest of the Broncos’ contingent. “But it’s good because at the next level it’s hard. It’s hard to win. I understand that.

“In ways, he was probably trying to see how I reacted to those bad plays and if I could take accountability and stuff like that.”


Indeed, the Broncos and every other NFL team are trying to learn everything they can about the prospects at the combine, quarterbacks or otherwise.

The urgency, however, ratchets up when it comes to the most important position in the game. Especially when a team doesn’t have a long-term answer at quarterback. When a team is looking for that foundational player. The face of the franchise.

The Broncos are squarely in that group as they head toward separation from Russell Wilson.

Denver thought in March 2022 that it had a long-term solution in Wilson, but instead they are back here at the combine once more, looking for the answer to a question that has remained elusive since Peyton Manning retired.


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